As stated above, the minicamp session would have been mandatory, and thus, either Deshaun Watson would have had to show up for it, the Texans would have had to excuse him, or the Texans would have had to fine him for staying away (if he had chosen to indeed stay away). Luckily, before all sides involved were absolved of being pushed to an awkward decision on anything, Seth Payne and I were able to interview Texans GM Nick Caserio on our radio show on SportsRadio 610.
The one question that was asked about Watson, by Payne, was about how the team has been instructed to handle questions about the Texans quarterback. Here is the audio of that question, along with Caserio's response:
Here is the transcript of Caserio's response, in case you're into reading over listening:
"I think we're taking it one day at a time," Caserio said when asked if the Texans' locker room has been addressed on how to handle the Watson situation publicly. "Really, control the things that we can control. I think the players have been focused on their attitude and their approach in the building. And they've handled everything, I would say very well. So again, we'll take it one day at a time.That latter portion of the last sentence — "as we get closer to training camp, then we'll try to make the best decision for the Houston Texans, whatever that entails" — is what got the internet scurrying around. Perhaps knowing this would be the last morsel of Watson intel until either (a) training camp or (b) resolution of Watson's legal matters, everyone with a laptop or a microphone (myself included) began dissecting the presence of the "training camp" milestone in Caserio's answer.
"I think we're respectful of what's happening. We're respectful of the process and everybody that's involved. The most important thing is for all of us — our coaches and players, myself included — is to focus on the things we can control. As we get more information, as we get closer to training camp, then we'll try to make the best decision for the Houston Texans, whatever that entails."
So what could that mean? What "decision" could the team be pushed to make come late July? By my estimation, it boils down to these three decisions, assuming that the league, the police, and the courts are still in limbo come July 27 (the start of training camp), and Watson himself decides NOT to hold out:
The Texans could decide to trade Watson at a discount
I'm guessing that there are still teams calling Nick Caserio on a daily (or at the very least, a regular) basis just to see if the Texans are willing to move Watson at a serious discount, given the uncertainty of his future. We don't know the outcome of the civil lawsuits, the punishment the league is considering, or even if HPD is going to arrest Watson. (NOTE: Reportedly, ten women have made complaints to the police about Watson's conduct.) There is a chance the Texans may just want to move on from the drama and accept whatever the best offer is on the table at the start of camp. I hope this isn't the case, as the best offers will likely come next winter before the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Texans could decide to send Watson home
If nothing has been decided by the league about a punishment for Watson, then it would make sense for him to show up to the facility on July 27. That way, if the commissioner decides to put him on the Commssioner's Exempt list while the rest of the investigation plays out, Watson could still get paid his salary. If Watson just stays away in holdout fashion, then the Texans can fine him, make him pay signing bonus money back, and withhold game checks. So Watson showing up on July 27 makes sense. From there, the Texans would have to decide if they want the drama that comes with Watson swirling around the team, or just tell him to go home.
The Texans could decide to allow Watson to be a normal member of the Texans (for the time being)
This would be the most fascinating of the decisions — Watson showing up at the facility, and the team saying "Cool, suit up, Deshaun!" I doubt it comes to this, but make no mistake, this is the dream scenario for those of us in the content generation business.
You can listen the interview in its entirety right here:
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.